The Traitors Australia forces its contestants to deceive and manipulate, a skillset Nigel Brennan came to obtain over the 460 days he was held hostage in Somalia.
In 2008, Nigel visited the war-torn country as a photojournalist and just four days into the assignment, he and Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout were kidnapped at gunpoint by Islamic rebels.
Having been isolated, subjected to abuse and threatened with death, the now-51-year-old believes his experience has given him an “incredibly valuable skillset” to win Ten’s new reality series.
“I’ve been a hostage, and for 15 months, I had to manipulate a situation,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I had 13 captors, and I wanted them to feel like I was valuable, so they wouldn’t kill me.
“Going into a game where I don’t know the rules and wanting to be the last person standing, I had an incredibly valuable skill set.”
As it stands, Nigel holds the record for the longest-living Australian who has been held hostage. He was freed only after a privately raised ransom of $US675,000 was paid.
The father of two has since written a memoir, The Price of Life: A True Story of Kidnap & Ransom. In it, he details his terrifying experience, which he further leans on for The Traitors‘ “manipulative game”.
“The mental game was intense. You’re trying to get people to like you while trying to work out who is a Faithful, who is a Traitor,” he admitted.
“You’re trying to use the information you’ve got but not put a target on your back.”
Nigel Brennan Previously Applied for Another Reality Show
While The Traitors is the first reality show Nigel appears on, it’s certainly not the first he’s applied for.
The Tasmanian was accepted for Australian Survivor several years ago but was ultimately forced to withdraw after filming clashed with his parental leave.
However, a reality TV stint was back on the table once Nigel saw the advertisement for The Traitors, which sees 24 contestants work to figure out who they can trust in order to eliminate others.
On the show, the photographer tells the cast he works in “pastoral care” at a university. And while it’s not untrue, he omits to reveal he’s spent the better part of a decade working in hostage negotiation.
“You can send yourself into a tailspin,” he said of The Traitors game. “I had the most fabulous time.”
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